First RESS auction expected to deliver 30% rise in renewables

The terms and conditions for the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction have been published today, Thursday, February 27, by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton.

This comes as part of the Government’s plan “to give Irish people a cleaner, and more sustainable future” through the “Climate Action Plan”.

This is a key part of the plan is a move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

Commenting on the development, Minister Bruton said: “Radically reducing our reliance on fossil fuel is central to responding to the climate emergency.

This scheme is a crucial enabler as we decarbonise our electricity grid and move to a clean, renewable energy.

“Round one will deliver an expected 30% increase in renewables – that is the equivalent of powering up to 640,000 homes every day.

“Today we are publishing the terms and conditions of the scheme to give more clarity ahead of is formal opening in March.”

Community participation

Minister Bruton stressed: “The community participation element is crucial. We must ensure local communities are involved in projects in their area if we are to deliver on the scale-up that is required.”

The auction-based scheme invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.

The Government has agreed the following proposed elements of the scheme which, subject to state aid approval, will make up the first auction set to open later this year.

Increasing technology diversity

The scheme will be open to a range of technologies that will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply.

RESS 1 will include a solar category, subject to state aid approval, which would represent approximately 10% of the overall auction.

Community-led category

The Government has approved the inclusion of a community category within the auction, subject to state aid approval of up to 30 gigawatt hours (GWh).

Community participation

An obligatory community benefit fund scheme will provide opportunities for communities to play their part in Ireland’s renewable energy transition.

The draft terms and conditions come as the department held a public consultation in December 2019.

On the basis of feedback from over 100 stakeholder responses, a number of amendments were made to the final version now being published.

The terms and conditions include a comprehensive description of the auction framework, terms of the support and bidder eligibility criteria.

Further information on the scheme is available here.